Parksville senior Fred Buott may soon get a much-needed new electric tricycle after all.
Buott, a pensioner who collects bottles and cans from his three-wheeled bicycle to supplement his income, was run off the side of the road by a truck last July, damaging his tricycle and making it unsafe to ride.
Later that month, a friend of Buott’s started a GoFundMe campaign in hopes to raise about $3,000 for a new electric trike. The fundraising page was eventually taken down for unknown circumstances and Buott didn’t receive any of the money for a new bike.
A new GoFundMe page was set up by Sarah Caruso on Feb. 4 and has raised $850 of the $3,000 goal. Caruso said she doesn’t know the exact details of why the first fundraising page was taken down but she did receive confirmation from representatives at GoFundMe that all funds from that first campaign were returned to the donors and Buott didn’t receive any of the money.
Caruso said she has known Buott for quite a while through Island Self Storage, where she works. She said when “everything went sideways” with the first GoFundMe page she was just going to let it go but had a change of heart when she saw Buott pulling his bike and trailer up the hill by the Parksville Bottle and Recycling Depot.
“It’s clearly not what he needs,” she said. “I couldn’t watch it anymore so I decided to start the GoFundMe campaign.”
Caruso said a new electric bike will cost around $2,500 plus a fee for someone to assemble it. She said with any extra money she would like to get Buott a new helmet and some safety gear.
“We set the GoFundMe account at $3,000 so not only can we get Fred the bike that would suit him and his purposes but also some safety gear,” Caruso said.
“The helmet he’s using is a baseball helmet.”
Caruso said the owners of Island Self Storage have also agreed to donate $1,000 and that people can stop by the office (1304 Alberni Hwy.) if they’d like to donate in cash.
Buott has been collecting cans and bottles since he retired from French Creek Seafood at the age of 65. More than 10 years later and he’s still working hard, Caruso said.
“I’ve seen this man ride his bike in the snow, in the rain and not only does he pick up cans but he also picks up garbage along the way,” Caruso said.
“He’s a good community member. I feel it’s important we help those community members who are proactive, who are good citizens in the community. Fred, I don’t think would ever imagine asking for this kind of help but I think he deserves it.”
Caruso added that, “at the end of the day, Fred will get his bike this time around.”
The GoFundMe page can be found at www.gofundme.com/fred039s-electric-bike.
The NEWS reached out to the individual who started the first GoFundMe campaign but did not receive a reply.